Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Harley Behm

Second Advisor

Dr. James Sanders


Rapid expansion of the thermoplastics processing industry has increased the need for plastics education and training. Screw plastication is the major method of melting plastics in order to mold or extrude them into useful products. Thus, information about the role of plastication is needed to provide guidance for plastics education and training.

This study sought confirmation of suspected differences existing in the amount of knowledge personnel have about thermoplastic screw plastication, dependent upon: (a) the type of plastics process used, and (b) their job classifications. Furthermore, the study collected data in three additional areas: (1) the extent to which persons in given job classifications rely on plastication theory; (2) the importance of elements of this information to their work; and (3) the likelihood that personnel is a given classification will seek additional information about plastication theory.

Conclusions were drawn from a survey instrument which asked respondents to report knowledge about several specific areas of screw plastication. Surveys were submitted to 180 people in all, involved in manufacturing and design engineering, trouble shooting, management, technical sales, research and development. All members of this sample were involved in injection molding, blow molding or extrusion. The instrument was administered to subjects residing within the state of Michigan, as Michigan was determined to be representative of the plastics industry throughout the United States. A 75% return rate of the instrument was achieved.

Some interesting conclusions can be drawn from this study. First, a degree of plastication knowledge is requisite for all people entering production, engineering and managerial positions with no appreciable difference between job classifications. Second, currently, blow molders more actively seek information on plastication than do injection molders. Third, the area of screw design is seen as being very important, but is not well understood by current molders. This knowledge gap provides an array of potential educational interventions, the exact nature of which needs to be determined.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access